Just last week, a years-long tradition came to a screeching halt. “You want me to put it on Fox News,” I asked my wife. “No,” she replied. “I’m done with Fox News.”
My job is to monitor the mainstream media, which is something that eats up about 14 hours of a day that begins at 6 a.m. when the cable morning shows begin. Lying next to me, my good sport of a wife suffers through about an hour of “Morning Joe,” whatever they call that left-wing garbage fire on CNN, and the rest. Out of habit, before I head to my desk, without really asking I always ask, “You want me to put it on Fox?”
Fox News has a problem, and not just with my wife. According to a YouGov Brand Index survey, the perception of Fox News among Republicans has hit a three-year low, “has declined by approximately 50% since January of this year.”
Basically, perception of Fox News has returned to those bad old Dick Morris days after President Obama won re-election. Much of the fall has come in the last few months. There is no question that this precipitous drop is the result of Fox’s ongoing war with Donald Trump.
This might be a good time to tell you that my wife is not a Trump supporter. Her frustrations and disappointment in Fox News have nothing to do with her personal political preference. Like many, it is something much larger than that.
Whether or not you support Trump, FNC’s pro-Rubio/GOP Establishment bias is still as hard to swallow as the mainstream media’s left-wing bias. Bias is bias. It’s manipulative and dishonest, and no one likes to be manipulated or lied to.
MSNBC is left-wing. CNN is even more left-wing. If every Democrat tuned into either, the ratings would crush Fox. Democrats don’t tune in, though, because even Democrats hate bias.
Fox’s ratings are still through the roof, but the people that have kept the “Fair and Balanced” network a juggernaut for more than a decade are losing respect for it. That could mean trouble when the excitement of the presidential campaign fades away. That could also give an upstart an opening.
When it came to grasping the Trump phenomenon, Fox News was every bit as clueless and caught off guard as the BubbleDumb in the mainstream media. A few of the opinion-driven FNC pundits, like Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling and Andrea Tantaros, saw the writing on the wall, but they were outliers who, when you look back, only make the rest of the network look clueless, especially the straight news division.
And once the Trump phenomenon became achingly real, Fox either refused to acknowledge it, or pretended it wasn’t real.
I watch about 30 minutes of Fox News a day, the roundtable on Bret Baier’s “Special Report.” The three-person pundit panel is supposed to represent the smartest thinking in politics, and yet for months and months, every Friday during Candidate Casino, a feature where the pundits award up to a hundred chips (points) to various presidential candidates, no one would acknowledge the “Trump” writing on the wall. Some even admitted they could not acknowledge it.
I still tune into the roundtable, but now it’s for the same reason I monitor the mainstream media: to get a feel for the talking points and wishful thinking-propaganda coming from the GOP Mother Ship. In fact, for that same reason, I’m watching more Fox News than ever before. After all, my job is to expose media deception.
Here is something I never thought I would write in my lifetime: CNN’s handling of the Republican debates has been infinitely more professional, unbiased, and fair than Fox News. It’s not even close. If you go back and look at the debates, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer have out-classed Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier by a wide margin.
It is beyond comprehension that, instead of Fox News, I wish CNN was hosting Thursday night’s debate.
When I asked my wife why she is “done” with Fox News, her answer was simply, “They’re just like all the rest.”
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC